FFF-Skates, Scouts and a Few Life Lessons In Between

Skates and Scouts

It was a Thursday evening and the kindergartner and I had a Community Girl Scout Meeting. It was at a skating rink and the place was overly crowded with all kinds of girls with all kinds of skill levels. I immediately felt overwhelmed, out of place and totally regretted my decision. My baby didn’t know how to skate and how could I put her in this position? It was a sad mommy moment and I wanted to wrap her up and run home. But, I couldn’t. We committed and I couldn’t pass my fears and insecurities on to her. THAT would b a horrible mom moment. Within a few minutes, she found her bff and that was it. She (THEY) were determined to get it. They fell HARD so many times that I just knew bottoms were getting iced that evening and they were going to give up soon. In that moment, my five year old taught me a few life lessons that I am now carrying with me. Lessons that I have heard and internalized years ago but it wasn’t until I saw her in action that the light bulbs went off.

“You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.”-Hebrews 10:36

LESSONS LEARNED:
I saw this girl roll into a crowded rink without knowing one person and she owned it. She hit the floor like no one was watching. She fell, she dusted herself off and got right back up again. I had the privilege of witnessing determination at its finest. Every time my baby fell and got back up again, I wanted to drop a tear. I thought about myself and every time I fell and did NOT get up. If I fail, I quit. I lack the determination to start again. By the time we left, she had only cried once and she still wanted to get back on the floor. How many times have I cried and walked away for good? I’m actually too embarrassed to reveal that number. This little Girl Scout taught me to fail with grace. And believe it or not, by the time the night ended this girl had owned the floor. She mastered skating and taught this old lady a few life lessons along the way. And for that, I am forever grateful and I have already fallen a few times since our skating event but the new me has gotten up every time…and I may have iced my bottom a bit in the process.

Have you fallen and had to find your way back to grace? How did you do it? What’s your secret? Please share in the comments below.

ONE WORD 2016…MANAGE

ONE WORD 2016-Manage

For the 4th year in a row, I will be participating in the ONE WORD 365 challenge. With the ONE WORD challenge, you choose ONE WORD and commit to making it your focus everyday. I also add a corresponding bible verse to round out the challenge. That means you call on that word and verse to guide and plan your day. The ONE WORD challenge puts my goal planning into perspective for the entire year.

“Be very careful, then, how you live – not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.”~Ephesians 5:15-17

As I reflected over my past year, I realized that my life has spiraled out of control. It actually took me several weeks to find the perfect word to bring all these feelings to the surface. I finally settled on the word, MANAGE. In the beginning, I was only thinking about time management because I struggle with finding enough time to complete my personal and business goals each and every day and yet, I have the same 24 hours as the next person. My finances are out of control and yet, I know others that are living debt free with less. My career needs to be revamped and yet, I keep making excuses and I am more than capable. My health numbers need to be improved and yet, I know it can be done because I have done it before. My marriage could use a facelift and yet, I know it does because we have both seen better days. My confidence and mental health need a boost and yet, I continue to live in the world of self-doubt and comparison. With that confession, the word MANAGE was a perfect fit. The word encompasses all I want to MANAGE-my personal goals, my business, my finances, my career, my health, my marriage, my confidence, my mental health and  anything else that needs to be MANAGEd.

This is the biggest ONE WORD challenge for me to date. To avoid overwhelm, I am focusing on making my goals even SMARTER, using tools to help me MANAGE every aspect of my business and life and being consistent. This year, I have decided to use the Passion Planner and Leonie Dawson’s workbooks (affiliate link) to keep me motivated and focused this year.

Here are my other ONE WORD posts:
2015 ONE WORD
2014 ONE WORD

*I may earn a small commission if you make an affiliate purchase.

Are you participating in the #ONEWORD365 Challenge? What is your word? Please share in the comments below.

Bookworm Chronicles-Taming the To-Do List

taming the to do list

Taming the To-Do List: How to Choose Your Best Work Every Day

This book (in 3 sentences):

  • will help you take control of your never ending to-do list.
  • helps you uncover the reason for your endless cycle of procrastination.
  • gives practical biblical application to our procrastination issues.

My top 3 highlighted lines of text:

  •  When we ask God for direction, we must trust that He will speak to us.
  • I’m wired to produce and achieve, and when that doesn’t happen to my expectations I doubt myself.
  • I can’t be perfect, but I can be perfectly me.

3 reasons why I think YOU should read this book:

  • Your to-do list is a mile long everyday and you wonder why nothing gets done.
  • Let’s face it, you are a self-proclaimed procrastinator and you are ready to be free.
  • You are ready to trust God with everything (including your to-do list).

Have you read this book? If so, what were your thoughts?

Procrastination is the Root of Fear

Procrastination

 

For the past few years I have started a birthday ritual-start the morning with a run, write a blog post and eat a pastry. If I don’t do those things, my birthday is not complete. Well, this year, I accomplished 2/3 of my list. I still ended up having an awesome 37th birthday, complete with friends, family, a nice run and a wonderful pastry-even if it was gluten free (thanks to the bff-she’s gluten free-I’m not).

Last year, I started a list of life lessons I’ve learned thus far and every year I promised myself to add to the list as a chance for reflection and review. This year will be my first addition to my life lesson list and it took almost a lifetime to figure it out:

DON’T PROCRASTINATE

Anyone who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it , sins.~James 4:17 (NIV)

Procrastination is the root of fear. I just finished reading, Taming the To-Do List: How to Choose Your Best Work Everyday by Glynnis Whitwer and this book opened my eyes to a major issue for me.

I have always been a procrastinator and loved using the excuses that “I do my best work at the last minute.” and “I work best late at night.” I mean since high school, I would be the one to burn the midnight oil and produce an awesome project. I remember my senior year, pulling an all nighter with no sleep. Someone brought some No Doze to school for me to take because I was afraid I would fall asleep in class. My heart raced all day and I thought I was going to have a heart attack, but I stayed awake. I cannot believe that taking a halfway illegal drug was not my fear, but falling asleep was my fear. Now when I look back on my stupidity, I have an “aha” moment. All I had to do was plan better and avoid procrastination. Duh.

The crazy part about that little story is that it doesn’t stop there. And what’s even crazier is that I am hyper-organized with a type-A personality that absolutely loves buying a planner at the end of the year. So much so that I started a businesses focused on business organization AND I’m in the process of designing a planner. But, I constantly stay up 24 hours to complete projects. Who does this? An absolute lunatic named, Dee Dee, that’s who. But, that all stops starting this month. I’m almost 40 and I can’t hang like I used to.

I have decided to start my new year with a different mindset. We all have the same 24 hours in a day and I am planning better to manage my time more effectively to avoid procrastination. I am tackling my hardest projects first thing in the morning. Procrastination has gotten the BEST of me and I’m over it. For example, I neglected this blog and I was hacked. It took 4 hours of phone support spanned over two days to get my blog up and I was so scared that I lost all my content. Had I not procrastinated, this entire situation could have been avoided and I wouldn’t have a themeless (no colo or personality for my non techies) blog. And don’t even get me started on how this “birthday” post is two weeks late because I was afraid to write. And the truth is there is nothing to fear-primarily because about two people read my blog and I write for me (and my children).

I have already started tackling projects head on and I look forward to creating a new mindset. From the title of a great movie from the year 2000…BRING IT ON! I’ll keep you posted on my progress of course. Pray for me!

Do you procrastinate? What is the fear of your procrastination? Please share in the comments below. You could help someone and not even know it.

 

Bookworm Chronicles-Act Like a Success Think Like a Success

Act Like a Success

Act Like a Success Think Like a Success by Steve Harvey

This book (in 3 sentences):

  • is easy to read and full of practical knowledge within your reach.
  • teaches you that everyone has a gift and shows you how to discover your gift.
  • will guide you to a life of happiness and success.

 

My top 3 highlighted lines of text:

  • All you have to do is commit to your gift. Once you commit, the rest of it-the money, the connections, and the opportunities-will start coming to you in ways that you can’t imagine. (24)
  • Even if you had a past filled with failure, you can create a new vision now. Let go of the past and think toward the future. Leave a history of mistakes behind and dream of wonderful, successful tomorrows. (125)
  • Being truly wealthy means that you are investing quality time in your marriage or long-term relationship, devoting your timing energy to your children, making your home your sanctuary, and staying on top of your health. (203)

 

3 reasons why I think YOU should read this book:

  • The excitement at work no longer exists and waking up in the morning is dreadful.
  • You are ready to step into your gift but need a little kick in the pants.
  • You follow everyone else’s dream but don’t invest in your own.

Have you read this book? If so, what were your thoughts?

Bookworm Chronicles-Make It Happen

Make It Happen Lara Casey

 

Make it Happen by Lara Casey

This book (in 3 sentences):

  • can actually be the turning point in your life that you have been searching for.
  • provides you with self reflection questions to encourage active participation.
  • is a practical guide for stepping out of your fear and into God’s purpose for your life.

 

My top 3 highlighted lines of text:

  • When God says go, then go. Trust that He has a really good plan.
  • God’s version of true happiness is so much better than what our culture presses towards. While everyone around you might be happily overspending, overindulging, or rising to the top of the success ladder at any cost, there is much greater reward for those who follow a different path. The goal is not happiness; the goal is Him.
  • Whatever you are going through right now, if it’s humbling you, making you pray, bringing you to your knees, and making you feel like you cannot do this alone, maybe there is a reason-a glorious beautiful reason.

 

3 reasons why I think YOU should read this book:

  • You are tired. You desire more. You don’t know where to start.
  • You want to take that leap, but you are afraid. You need the courage and faith to move forward.
  • Lara puts it all out there for you to read. She shares the good, the bad, and the ugly. And through this process, she she shows you how to look in the depths of your soul and pull out your own dreams and putting some action behind them.

Have you read this book? If so, what were your thoughts?

Bookworm Chronicles-The Best Yes

the best yes

The Best Yes by Lysa Terkeurst

This book (in 3 sentences):

  • provides a process to make wisdom-based decisions no matter how big or small.
  • has biblical scripture weaved throughout each chapter.
  • shows you how to be confident when saying no.

My top 3 highlighted lines of text:

  • The one who obeys God’s instruction for today will develop a keen awareness of His direction for tomorrow. (11)
  • Our decisions aren’t just isolated choices. Our decisions point our lives in the directions we’re about to head. Show me a decision and I’ll show you a direction. (69)
  • If God has put an assignment to serve, give, and help in front of us, He will give us what we need to fulfill that assignment. And through serving in that way, we will be refreshed and refueled. (164)

3 reasons why I think YOU should read this book:

  • You will become wise and confident when making decisions about anything from dragging the kids to another birthday party to accepting a new job offer and everything in between.
  • Lysa shares several personal experiences with how her decision-making process allowed her to love others and give them the best of her…hence, The Best Yes.
  • You will add a decision-making process to your bag of tricks that will make the small “no” seem even smaller.

Have you read this book? If so, what were your thoughts?

10 Things the 10K Taught Me

10k

Ignore my daughter’s sad face…she’s always mad at something or somebody

 

I recently trained and finished my first 10k. I backed it up by training and finishing a 5k with my best friend and accountability partner (two VERY special ladies in my life). I want to temporarily hang up my running shoes and officially close my running season by sharing a few life lessons I learned along the way.

1. Rain and Water Don’t Stop My Show
Environmental elements don’t matter. I ran in 27 degree weather. This might not be a big deal to most, but if there are two things that will seriously cause me to reschedule, reconsider, or even quit all together its the rain and the cold. Not me.  Won’t do it. And yet, I braved both at the same time to successfully complete my weekly training.

2. I Can Commit
I have never been seen myself more committed to any exercise program before this one. It was sheer determination at its finest. I rearranged my schedule and I did not miss a training day. I was going to take the right steps to finish this race.

3. I Can Drink Water
I don’t like water. I worked hard to not drink water. I am so particular about my water…Sonic Ice, Fiji Water, lemon in my cup…one of these preferences had to be present in order for me to drink any amount of water. And then I broke the code. Detox Water. That is all it took. I am hooked. I took a problem and found a solution. I can now say with confidence, I drink water.

4. I Can Run
I look like a one-legged monkey when I run and I know I do. When I started the training journey for the 10k, I had no idea what I was getting into. I would often text my husband and best friend and let them know that I was crazy stupid and was upset because they led me to believe that I could actually run 6.2 miles at one time. But, I continued to run even if I was a sight for sore eyes.

5. Small Celebrations Are Necessary
All that hard work deserves a celebration. Small celebrations are necessary to continue with the intensity needed to complete the ultimate task. Even if it’s a cupcake and a margarita (my choice for a small celebration), it’s a celebration.

“I asked the Lord for help, and he saved me from all my fears.”~Psalms 34:4

6. Fear Is Temporary
Fear is only present as long as you choose to not step into it. I am fearful of so much it consumes me. I know the solution is to step into it, and yet I am fearful of doing that too. With training, I stepped right into it. Each day, I told myself, there is nothing to fear, just put one foot in front of the other and finish.  Finish your goal for the day. I have now applied this to every aspect of my day. All I need to do is take the next right step. That is all. Take that step, have that faith, and God will figure out the race.

7. I Am Not Alone
Once I put it out there, the support came flowing in. Besides the support from the husband (even got some cool shoes out the deal) and best friend, random support flowed in from social media. With all the negativity saturating the world, it was hard for me to believe that there were kind people that sill existed. And yet, there are. The running community is very loving from the inconsistent 5k runner to the repeat marathon runner, they all wish success for anyone that partakes in their beloved sport and I love every minute of it.

8. Be My Best Self and Don’t Worry About the Rest
For someone who compares herself to everything, it is almost impossible for me to focus on my personal best. At the park (where I train), at the gym, talking to other runners, I compare myself to everything and everybody. I’m too slow, I can never finish, I’ll be the last one out there…every last one of these thoughts crossed my mind every time I laced up my shoes. I finally internalized the statement, “Be the Best Version of Yourself.” I accepted that I have my own race to run and it is crafted just for me and no one else whatever the task. My race. My time. My challenge.

9. Keep Raising the Bar
The first time I ran four miles (the furthest I had run at that time) gave me a sort of natural high. It prepared me for my next goal. Cue the music…now…Roar by Katy Perry (my song of choice), the Rocky theme, Momma Said Knock You Out…whatever motivates you. When I hear this song, I feel like it’s me against the world and I can conquer all. After completing this challenge, I was ready to plan for and conquer the next challenge. I am now continuing to raise the bar…on myself that is.

10. My Simple Actions Could Inspire Someone Else
The absolute best part about finishing this race was totally unexpected. After I finished and we celebrated, my two littles were inspired to run. They begged me to train them so we could run a race together. What? Are you kidding me? If that is not motivation, I don’t know what is. They would see me in my running clothes or shoes  and ask, “Did you go running today?” Little did I know, they were taking it all in and wanted to know what this running was all about. We started training a week later, but had to stop due to the cold weather. I have a tad bit of sense because cold weather, a whining 4 and 6 year old, and a tired mom just don’t mix. I’m sorry. So, as soon as we get some consistent, decent weather we’ll be back at it. I am actually looking forward to running a race with them. The husband says he’ll stick to the gym and cheer us on from the sidelines. I’ll take it. We’ll make him take us out for cupcakes after.

What challenge have you completed recently that changed your entire outlook on life? Please share in the comments below.

FFF-The Day I Decided to Stop Yelling

Cat Argument

It was a normal morning. We were running late (as usual) and the littles could care less. The bus was coming in ten minutes and we were all half dressed. ALL. THREE. OF. US. My stress level was not even on the charts, panic set in, and the yelling started. The annoying, everything you do is wrong, move your little butt yelling. But, the morning was saved, we ended up making it to the bus stop. I’m cruising again. And then, I tell the first grader to put his jacket on, the whining starts, and he deliberately ignores my command. AND. I. LOSE. IT. But, I am a Southern lady, I don’t yell in front of the neighbors. I grabbed his little arm and told him the privilege of riding the bus was just lost and I was taking him to school. On that six minute ride to school, you best believe I let him have it every which way but the right way. I let him know that if his behavior continued, he would NEVER ride the bus again. I dropped him off (on time), came back home and continued on with my day.

19 My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20 because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. 26 Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless. ~James 1:19-20; 26

At 4:15 pm, I stepped outside and waited on the bus as the 4 year old napped inside and I received a call. A call from the school which automatically sent my heart rate through the roof. The lady on the other end wanted to know who was coming to pick up the first grader because all the students had been picked up for the day except one. And that one was mine. I then wanted to start yelling at her because she started asking me questions such as, “How does he normally get home? Did you send a transportation notification to the front office? Did you call before 3:30 pm to change his mode of transportation?” I wanted to say, “Lady. STOP. Let’s start over. How did my son end up in the car rider line? Isn’t it your responsibility to make sure he gets home safely using the approved transportation method? I have not changed his transportation method once in the 1.5 years he’s been there. So, once again, STOP.” But, I didn’t say any of that. I woke the preschooler up and went to pick up my son. I thanked the secretary, buckled in the littles, and headed home. After talking it out, I discovered that the poor boy was confused. I yelled so much he didn’t know what to do. He didn’t know if not riding the bus started that day or next school year. Hence, the phone call.

LESSONS LEARNED:
I learned so many lessons. So many lessons. The yelling is not helping anyone. The point I am attempting to make is still not made. The little people get confused. The husband gets angry.  And the situation is still not resolved. I need to stop letting my anger overtake me so fast. The littles even asked their dad, “Why does Mommy yell so much.” God gives me grace everyday, all day. As a Christian, it is my responsibility to give the same grace to others, including the children and husband that take me from 0 to 100 in 2.5 seconds. In this situation, my anger and yelling caused me to be late because my morning routine was thrown a curve ball. I had to wake the preschooler from her nap and drive to pick the other child up from school which was not in my plans. Had I just taken a moment to digest the situation, teach the boy a lesson, and dropped him off with clear instructions, my day would have ended completely different and probably been more productive. Just this week, my son lost his bus privilege again, but my approach was different. I did not yell. I explained the situation and the consequence and dropped him off. I did email the teacher that afternoon to make sure he took the bus home. The teacher responded, He didn’t even blink about riding the bus. He just assumed he was riding. And that’s what I’m talking about! My point was made and yelling was not necessary. I am so much calmer when the littles misbehave. I catch myself when that loud voice starts rising from my belly and I regroup. It is making me more cognizant of my anger and allowing for much needed self reflection. Next up, stop yelling at the husband. Work in progress people. Work in progress.

Are you a yeller? Have you tried to stop? What sends you to that place? Please share in the comments below.

photo credit: Max the Brown Tabby and Burt the Grey Kitten: Cat Argument 3 via photopin (license)

FFF-I Thought I Had a Few More Years

Rosa Parks

I have lived in Texas my entire life. (I do have aspirations to live elsewhere.) Along with that, comes a bit of life lessons, such as:

  • experiencing the largest rodeo in the world,
  • participating in the largest state fair in the US,
  • visiting one of the 8th wonders of the world several times,
  • graduating from the second oldest institution in the state, and
  •  being called a NIGGER on the playground in 2nd grade in front of everyone
  • being placed in lower level classes in a new elementary school and watching my mom fight daily for correct placement
  • being the only brown child in class until my sophomore year in high school
  • being asked by Mrs. Palmer (one of my favorite teachers that taught my favorite subject in my favorite class of peers) in front of the entire class, “Do Black people sun burn?”
  • having a presentation stolen from me in front of a room of upper level management males

The list could go on but, the last five experiences built the most character for me. They helped form a bit of my personality and taught me the true meaning of using EXPERIENCE to my benefit. I removed the word HATE from my vocabulary as a result and have taught my children to to the same. As a matter of fact, it tickles me that the word HATE is a very bad word in our house..right up there with the other four word explicatives.

No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People learn to hate, and if thy can learn to hate, they can be taught love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.~Nelson Mandela

The issue is that no matter how hard we try, we cannot shield our children from everything no matter their age. One evening, we were enjoying dinner conversations (my favorite time of the day) and the first grader was sharing what he learned about Martin Luther King, Jr. at school and the four year old heard him say, “Martin Luther King was a man that fought so that white people and black people could eat at restaurants, go to school and play together.” I was so excited that he had wrapped his brain around this concept, I almost missed the comment of the preschooler (partially because she talks non stop and I thought it was another rant). She chimed in on our conversation, “Perry said he doesn’t want black people at his house.” I just knew that Perry just didn’t like the color black and wasn’t talking about “black people”. He’s only 4. So for clarification, I asked, “What do black people look like?” And then she hit me with her best shot, “Perry said people that look like me and Melissa can’t come to his house to play because he doesn’t want black people at his house.” Well, she confirmed it. My little four year old just had her first life experience at her little church preschool. I was frozen inside and still needed to respond. My husband beat me to it and we will keep his response here in this house and pray my children forget it and never repeat it. I finally jumped in and redeemed my poor children, “Well, that’s not nice. If that happens again, you let Perry know that you don’t want to come to his house anyway, but he and everyone else is welcome at our house regardless of what color they are. Do you understand?” Everyone said yes and we moved on.

Racism isn’t born, folks. It’s taught. I have a 2-year old son. Know what he hates? Naps. End of list.”~Denis Leary

Needless to say, after starting the kids’ bedtime routine and chatting with my husband, I had to call my mother and fill her in on our lively discussion. It brought back that feeling on the playground in the second grade and I know this is only the beginning. Melissa was only in the class a couple of months and has moved and I know this will not be the last time my daughter has an encounter with racisim. I just naively assumed, we had more time. But, a lesson learned is a lesson learned.

*The names in this post have been changed.

Have your children had an experience that you thought would come later in life? How did you respond?